[diggers350] Re: Scottish Land Rights and the MST
bannerheather at clara.net
Wed Jun 30 03:01:32 BST 1999
You're a star, Tony, best thing I've received in my inbox since Mobseys
invite to Wales-Cheers, love and hugs
Banners-oh, p.s., got a new thing happening.......
Please circulate as widely as possible, add link to website, or publish in
as many places as you can, thankyou.
IN DEFENSE OF THE FUTURE OF FREEDOM CHAOS AND ANARCHY
are a group of artists, musicians, writers, performers, fire dancers and
entertainers. We are Direct Activists experienced in ecology, tree defence,
eviction resistance, tunnelling, sea actions, free festivals, street parties
and demonstrations. We are dedicated to the protection of all life forms
from persecution or destruction and are available to support any good cause
anytime, anywhere, by land, sea or air!Teknopunx2000 are funded by People
Against Power Abuse, a charitable trust set up originally to fund road
protests.For more information on joining our group go to
www.bannerheather.clara.net or phone 01382 770877 or 01382 776956
or e-mail me bannerheather at clara.net
(the only criteria for joining is you must be non discriminatory, have a
sexy pair of shades and a sense of humour.)
From: Tony Gosling <tony at gaia.org>
To: diggers350 at egroups.com <diggers350 at egroups.com>
Date: Wednesday, June 30, 1999 2:45 AM
Subject: [diggers350] Scottish Land Rights and the MST
>Dear tolerant ones,
>Sorry for accidentally posting that (embarrassing) message to Zoe earlier.
>Hope this refreshing blast from North of the border makes up for it.
>General tlio swing of things seems to be:
>Saturday 3rd June: Core group meeting 12 noon Oxford office
>Wednesday 7th July: Kett meeting point announced
>Sunday 11th July: Kett... The Rebels Return to Norwich
>Monday 2nd August: Next tlio newsletter out - make sure you're on the
>Office 01865 722016
>Mobile 0961 460171
>ps. Can't get that new number one out of my head... 'I thought music was
>dead!' - (Glaswegians Bis)
>A leviathan awakes?
>Angus Calder & Alasdair Gray's home rule handbook Part Three:
>ALASDAIR GRAY : The Scottish people grow particularly warm in argument
>concerning the land and its ownership. We understand from the Secretary of
>State that 85 organisations and individuals submitted responses to one
>document produced by the Land Policy Research Group, which made its
>recommendations at the start of this year.
>ANGUS CALDER : Perhaps we should be concerned that the number of responses
>was so small, since we all live on the land (now that lighthouses have been
>fully automated) and a large proportion of us own properties on it, subject
>to keeping our mortgage payments up to date. However, "land" as a term in
>political debate usually seems to mean "rural land, especially in the
>Highlands". Only a small proportion of Scots live in the Highlands but we
>tend to believe that our true identity as Scots derives from those windy,
>wet, remote, infertile but, to many, perversely attractive landscapes.
>There is a widespread belief that Highland chiefs in the 18th and 19th
>centuries effectually stole land which properly belonged to all the folk
>who dwelt on it, the whole clan. They then extruded people and in their
>place introduced sheep for profit and deer for sport. Finally, their
>inheritors peans who compounded the original theft by controlling the land
>as absentees. Just as wildlife protection groups take no interest in those
>resourceful and successful creatures, urban seagulls and pigeons and urban
>rats and foxes, so land ownership is rarely discussed as an issue affecting
>the urban areas where the great majority of Scots live.
>AG : I observe that you are set upon provocation. Was it not admirable
>that, in 1993 and 1997 respectively, the crofters of Assynt and the
>islanders of Eigg, with heartfelt support from many Scots elsewhere, were
>able to purchase the estates on which they live?
>AC : Yes, but they are not clanspersons of the clans from which the land is
>supposed to have been stolen. The principle involved is not like that
>involved in the transfer of lands back to people of Maori descent in New
>Zealand. It does not invoke aboriginal rights to the soil. It is the
>conception perhaps sound, and universally valid that estates should ad
>co-operatives of actual residents. It might be applied to housing estates,
>or "schemes" as we call them here. However, such groups, as things stand,
>do not have ultimate ownership of the land.
>AG : But surely, in the worldview prevalent in the West since the 17th
>century, property is deemed to be sacrosanct. Those who have paid for the
>island of Eigg, own it. If they dont who does? ...
>AC : We all do.
>AG : Sir, I perceive that you are intoxicated.
>AC: Nothing stronger than mango juice has passed my lips this day. What I
>say is true. Just one mortifying shadow falls over my glee at this
>discovery. The English, the Welsh and the Northern (although not the
>Southern) Irish also own the whole of Scotland.
>AG : Pursue this point if you must, but I fear that you will confound
>AC: You are aware, of course, that alone in Europe Scotland still has a
>feudal system of landownership?
>AG : Yes, and lawyers and civil servants have been struggling for several
>decades to invent a sound scheme for getting rid of it. We understand that
>a major obstacle has been that Scottish land law is so intricate and
>outlandish (please forgive my childish wordplay) that the Westminster
>parliament could never have found time to discuss it properly. Thus, though
>Mr Dewars group has worked out how to do away with it, and his party will
>probably command a large number of seats in our own new parliament, where
>he promises that land will be a topic for early discussion, feudalism, for
>the moment, survives.
>AC : Perhaps we should retain it.
>AG : If I ever ingest mango juice, it will be with extreme caution. Why
>should we propitiate the evil ghosts of rapacious noblemen who oppressed
>poor men and, to boot, ravished their wives, while they persisted in
>betraying Scotland to the English?
>AC : Because we ourselves possess feudal sovereignty.
>AG : I think that you should hasten to report that to the marines.
>AC : Nay, hearken ... The Queen, you will agree, is nominal sovereign of
>the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ...
>AG : "Ukania", as Tom Nairn has called it, yes ...
>AC : But since the 18th century it has been understood that Ukania is
>governed by the monarch-in-parliament. Effectively, this meant at the
>outset that the monarchs ministers, led by the prime one, and commanding
>as a rule a majority of votes in the House of Commons, shared out among
>their friends and other persons who might be useful to them, including
>Members of Parliament, moneys acquired by direct and indirect taxation of
>the gentry and populace. To justify this larceny they maintained armies and
>navies which could sally forth and loot the rest of the world, while
>extending scope for Ukanian merchants and manufacturers and so, as they
>could argue, increasing the nations general wealth. During the 19th
>century, the fraudulence involved in all this was made less blatant. A
>civil service emerged which was presumed to be wholly incorruptible. The
>army and navy were only allowed to steal the property of non-white peoples.
>Some governments in the 20th century have actually used the tribute
>rendered by taxpayers to improve the comfort and prospects of the
>generality as, for instance, in the creation of a National Health Service
>AG : You wander off your point ...
>AC : Not so. My point is that in our own times the notion that we, folk at
>large, have our interests genuinely represented by a parliament which is in
>effect sovereign throughout Ukania has, intermittently at least, ceased to
>be fictional. In a democracy, the interests of the people are expressed
>through representatives who govern on their behalf. Do you deny that we
>live in a democracy?
>AG : That is debatable, but most folk seem to think so. Pursue your point.
>AC : It follows that under Scottish feudal land law the Ukanian electorate
>have ultimate sovereignty over all the straths, braes, landfill sites,
>council schemes, football sta et cetera , of our bonny country. Whether
>tenure is by feuing or allodial, whether land is held by "box tenure" as in
>Paisley or by a "kindly tenant" in Lochmaben or under old Norse "udal"
>custom as in the Northern Isles, all of us, voting regalia the Crowns
>sovereign and inalienable rights.
>AG : But if we were to create a Scottish republic ...?
>AC : That "state", if we must use a term which many, not without reason,
>find sinister, would take over sovereign feudal ownership of the whole of
>AG : Are you suggesting that our new parliament assuming, as Mr Dewar
>clearly does, that sovereignty in this sphere of interest is devolved from
>Westminster might assert its feudal superiority over tenement flats in
>Partick and modest villas in Broughty Ferry? Might it, for instance, compel
>all tenants to acquire digital TV at once, on pain of eviction?
>AC : No that would clearly be tyrannous, though such a consideration
>would not necessarily deter the present Ukanian Prime Ministers very good
>friend, Mr Rupert Murdoch. Sovereign though we are, we must legislate when
>needful to restrain the exercise of our own power. Law needs must safeguard
>honest tenants against cruel and arbitrary treatment by our sub-landlords,
>just as it might prevent the inhabitants of Knoydart, were they to wrest
>immediate control of their 17,000 acres from an English businessman
>currently under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, from turning the
>whole area into a Highland theme park or using every tract of water for
>insanitary fish farming.
>AG : Mr Dewar himself clearly believes that our parliament will be within
>its rights to dispossess absentee and otherwise delinquent landlords.
>AC : Yes. A very wise man once pointed out to me that if one had an idea
>which was wholly original it would certainly be wrong. So I am happy to
>think that Mr Dewar might agree, in effect, that the principle of common
>sovereignty over land, if we can preserve it from the devastation of the
>rest of our feudal system, would permit our parliament to act decisively,
>without particular legislation, overriding unsatisfactory landlords.
>"According to our power yew are oot , Jimmy" ... a formula as brief as
>that might suffice.
>AG : But is that not the language of Leviathan , erstwhile assimilated by
>some sincere Christian folk with the voice of Antichrist himself?
>AC : Up to a point one must go along with Hobbes. Consider these facts.
>Half of Scotlands 19 million acres are held by 608 landowners, three acres
>out of ten by 135, one fifth by 58, and a tenth by just 18. If one takes
>out of account the 12 per cent of Scotland which is owned by public bodies
>such as the Forestry Commission and the 3 per cent covered by our major
>cities, one half of the privately owned rural land in Scotland is
>controlled by less than 350 owners, and over a third by less than 125
>owners, each with more than 20,000 acres. Mr Robin CalHow Scot (Canongate,
>1998), I have plagiarised these statistics, notes that at the end of
>Victorias reign, in that classic era of English country house culture,
>less than 7 per cent of England was held in estates of more than 20,000
>acres. "It appears that no other country in the world can match the
>concentrated land ownership in Scotland". Good old Hobbes would surely have
>pointed out that it takes some brute of a leviathan to sort our six-score
>AG : You do not consider the suggestion, long advanced by the Old Labour
>Party, that all land should be nationalised.
>AC : Of course I dont. You obstinately ignore my point. We, as voters of
>the nation state of Ukania, own all of Scotland already, jointly with most
>of the other occupants of the North West European Archipelago.
>A G : So a large question might be this can we restrict sovereignty over
>Scotland to the people who live and vote here?
>AC : Subject to European Union law, if we secured a sufficient measure of
>independence within or outwith Ukania, yes, presumably we could do that.
>AG : But might not our continental partners take it amiss if we exercised
>our sovereign authority to dispossess absentee Teutons and distasteful
>AC : This is a particular instance of a general problem facing our
>parliament. Scotlands membership, through Ukania, of the European Union
>will necessarily constrain any sovereignty devolved to us. I am pretty
>clear that we have the right to put desolate housing schemes under the
>immediate ownership of their inhabitants and assist them with resources,
>such as dynamite, which will enable them to develop their land as they
>themselves wish. But in other areas, policies will change in ways that we
>ourselves, alone, Sinn Fein, cannot control. For instance, the common
>agricultural policy, a racket operated on behalf of the numerous peasant
>voters of certain European countries, is likely to change because if the
>Community is widened, as it is hoped, to include countries formerly in the
>eastern bloc, inconveniently large numbers of genuinely indigent peasants
>would join our union, costing well-to-do city dwellers far too much. I am
>not clear whether we might or might not be prevented or inhibited from
>imitating an excellent idea of the Movimento Sem Terra of Brazil, as
>reported recently by Mr Richard Ross, formerly a singer with a musical
>ensemble called Deacon Blue, who went there at the request of Christian Aid
>AG : You intrigue me. Most people in the wealthy north assume that only
>pale-skinned persons have good ideas.
>AC : Briefly, the MST, in the teeth of opposition from powerful landowners,
>has taken over underdeveloped land and resettled over 150,000 landless
>families in the last 14 years or so. These people enjoy a large measure of
>self-sufficiency in food. By 2002, the MST plans that all its farms will be
>completely "organic". I should like to suggest to MSPs that we should
>legislate to ban non-organic farming in Scotland, phasing it out as swiftly
>as possible. The Wisdom of the Serpent tells me that if we maximise
>production of organically grown crops, we should be able to export them
>advantageously, as many customers in the so-called advanced countries are
>weary of being poisoned by what they eat and fearful about the pollution of
>farmlands. Of course, with our sovereignty at their disposal, our
>representatives might simply order all our tenants to comply forthwith ...
>AG : I think, too, that local authorities should supply allotments where
>folk, in or out of built-up areas, could grow their own vegetables. In most
>large German cities Berlin included there are great areas of
>allotments, each with a small summerhouse and toolshed. In Britain, the
>allotment movement has only been actively sponsored by Government during
>the two world wars. Our education system could teach everyone land use as a
>recreation as well as a necessity.
>AC : Yes, and digging and tending our allotments, we would express our
>actual possession of our own land.
>Date of article: 15/2/1999
>Tony Gosling tony at gaia.org
>Tel +44 (0)117 955 6769
>14 Lancaster Road
>Common origin of NATO, EU, World Bank & IMF
>UK/USA 'spooks' monitoring sorted chat: -- you dig?
>eGroups.com home: http://www.egroups.com/group/diggers350
>www.egroups.com - Simplifying group communications
eGroups.com home: http://www.egroups.com/group/diggers350
http://www.egroups.com - Simplifying group communications
More information about the Diggers350